Having played Ōkami myself, I can attest to its visual beauty, in the form of a gorgeous art style, laden with thick, inky-black brush strokes as outlines. The characters move with natural fluidity, and the atmosphere—with music and art style combined—is magical. By the end of my near 50-hour endeavor, I was sad to see the adventure come to a close. But isn’t that the same feeling you get from a good film, or book? No matter how long you have spent with those beloved characters, there is still a craving for more to chow on. The fact that this game can invoke such emotion in me that I let a few tears drop over a digital wolf (did I forget to mention that the main protagonist is not only a glorified mutt, but a sun goddess?) is simply astounding. Tom Bissel, a journalist, critic, and writer, even wrote a book on games being art, titled Why Video Games Matter. He claims that video games are “ambitious works of narrative fiction,” and can be compared with even the most engaging of books. Perhaps gaming was simply ahead of Ebert’s time, but in the end, it wouldn’t have hurt to dip a toe into the vast ocean of wonderful experiences you can find in the ever-changing market of gaming. Perhaps mindless shooters will always dominate, but hidden gems will always surface every once in a while—just to keep it fresh.
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